posted on November 11, 2010 |
E2M, a leader in helping customers engineer and operate with manufacturing excellence, recently sent Christy Starner, Technical Lead for the Systems Analytics department at E2M, to a small trade show in Cincinnati. The show focused on using technology to solve problems. Simulations can solve issues relating to manufacturing but not many people understand when it can be useful. Christy was able to share the ways that E2M apply simulation to help solve manufacturing and engineering problems.
Simulation is a perfect application for demonstrations and concept illustrations. If there is a complicated design that does not translate well to a 2-D CAD drawing, if a “wow” factor is needed to help sell a concept, or if there is a cool idea for a new machine, simulation can get the job done. A software like Demo3D can show your machine or layout in an interactive 3-D setting. It’s much easier to explain how the products are handled or what the flow through the system will look like with a realistic visualization. Usually these simulations are of a lower level of detail than something designed to analyze throughput, which means they can be built in a short amount of time and bring a lot of impact to a project.
Using simulation can help validate designs that have been toiled over until perfect. Experience says that one will be able to get the cases needed, but is experience enough? Simulations can prove that everything will work together to deliver the promised results. E2M's System Analytics group starts with a CAD layout and generates a 3-D model. They then incorporate performance measures – machine speeds and expected failures – and logic into the model to get realistic behavior. The system is run and results develop. It allows them to see how many products they can get out of a system, identify where the bottlenecks will be, and make recommendations on how much accumulation the line needs and where it should be. This simulation can also be used to illustrate the concept and get buy-in from the customer that the design really will work as planned.
Another benefit of simulation is the detailed analysis. Excel can make some pretty outstanding spreadsheets, but it has its limitations. Take the example of OEE. While E2M/Polytron’s OEE tool has a lot of capability, it is limited in some ways. Excel just doesn’t have the complexity required to handle parallel unit operations or simultaneous downtime events. You could make assumptions and try to calculate a realistic number…or you could create a quick flowchart style simulation to give you a more accurate representation of the system and its internal interactions.
Many simulations combine aspects from these uses to provide maximum value throughout the life-cycle of the project. Simulation enables you to show your concept, prove that it works, and predict performance.
More information about E2M’s is available at www.e2m.com or by calling Brent Stromwall at (800)622-4326.
E2M, a Haskell Company, is a manufacturing system integration firm based in Georgia, and applies project management and engineering expertise with many of the world’s largest Food, Beverage, Pharmaceutical, and Consumer Products companies. Founded in 1985, the firm serves numerous clients in the Fortune 500 group of companies. To learn more about E2M, visit www.e2m.com or call (678) 328-2888.